> improving the radio listening experience
Hearing aid batteries need changing?...
"Digital" always means lower quality, both in TV and radio. Simply because of greed.
923 posts • joined 9 Oct 2017
> involves very clever people playing about with various bits of technology
That's preposterous. Governmental scientific reports are made worldwide by choosing a large group of (not necessarily theme-related) public faces, protégés, media darlings, and whatever friends & family you need to keep happy, then giving them a huge budget (so everyone can get a fair share) and a longish time to
spend churn out some pointless but extremely verbose report stating the obvious.
It's a PR stunt to gain time, dilute responsibility and do some of the back-scratching required to stay in power.
> you cannot install apps on an iPad, just Apple-approved apps
The very specific and limited problem of Apple approval for apps isn't worth opening the box of Pandora and create a huge new attack vector.
I can understand developers wanting more power (more money), but users aren't just milk cows, we do want to be left in peace (of mind).
> "off by default" rather than "[not there]"
The problem with "off by default" is that it is utterly useless because only the good guys will respect it. The more ruthless ones will make their web apps "on by default" and gladly do what bad guys do.
As for a master switch in the browser, it is also utterly useless: Assuming there is one compelling use case for a "web app" (probably Facebook...), the user will have to switch the master switch to "on", which means that all the other unwanted apps will get permission to run as well. Stable door status: Wide open.
The only way to control programs running on your computer is to choose and download them yourself. Also, the less task-unrelated features a given program has, the more secure and reliable it tends to be. Let browsers browse, and programs do the programmy things.
> So you don't think there are any cross platform web apps that might need Bluetooth access?
I personally think there shouldn't be any web apps that might need Bluetooth access. Much like there shouldn't be any TV shows (for instance) that need Bluetooth. It's pure unadulterated feature creep and just additional, new ways to spy and hack. Why?
Because a browser is a program made to browse HTTP web pages, period. If a distant server needs to talk to other kit around my house, I definitely want that to happen through a dedicated, serious, opt-in and secure program, not something the browser dragged in and which is probably as sloppily coded as most commercial websites.
(BTW, if you want to print some part of a web page, that feature has been implemented in most browsers a long time ago (including in tablets), it does not require some new specific app with Bluetooth access...)
"Web apps" are a solution looking for a problem to solve, and only make any sense in exceedingly rare cases. They are an excellent example of the "we can, ergo we must" mentality my manners forbid me from commenting on.
> why should the technologies of an alien planet be automatically similar to our own?
Indeed. We're way too narrow-minded. Looking for solar panels? Why not look for blockchain and IoT too? Do those aliens really need to check all the current buzzwords of human technology?
The environmental conditions of their planet are most likely to be different, meaning those aliens will be quite different from us, and have found completely different solutions to their completely different problems.
And even if this is a low-budget universe, and aliens are just regular humans with strange skin colors, living on a totally USA-like planet, why would they necessarily be exactly in our time frame of solar panels and mindless pollution? In human history it is but a short flash. Those aliens might be already mastering fusion, or they might have enough volcanic activity to be able to use geothermal power generation at large scale (for instance).
In short, those people are searching for humans, not for alien intelligent life...
Given peoples' bodies aren't standardized and this seems like a delicate task which would profit from the human sense of touch, I wonder if it is the best candidate for robotization. Especially since the out-of-sight operator will most likely be some grad student more focused on his/her Facebook updates.
Also, between placing the heads the
victims patients exactly where the robot expects them, and removing the corpses every now and then, I'm not sure it will be more efficient than a standard human in a hazmat suit (which would certainly be cheaper).
Sounds more like a case of "now how could we make some money out of this Covid-19 mess?".
> I really, really tried W10
Well, the problem started much earlier and came to a head with the tablet-optimized Win8 (almost) nobody had asked for. Till then they had only dumbed things down and removed features, but starting with Win8 they went full mental and lost all ties to user reality. Win10 was the logical conclusion of that "I don't really know what Windows is for, so let's go crazy" design mentality. After all people don't pay for it anymore, so they can't complain it it doesn't cater to their needs, do they.
> computer magazines (Remember them?)
Well, Internet mostly culled them, but I guess the total noobs they are now targeted at don't know how to use Internet, so there is still a market niche for them...
That been said, I have fond memories of tweaking my autoexec.bat and config.sys to eke out some additional octets of memory for some game... Mostly because it was easy, gave me nevertheless bragging rights, and was tied to the pleasure of playing some game. (Not to mention it's now improved by nostalgia, good ol' times and all that.)
> if you were to draw up a top-ten tech arrogance chart
Might be, but while I have used Microsoft products from DOS 1 to Windows 7, I never used Facebook or any of it's products (AFAIK).
I just know I was quite happy with Microsoft for decades, but the constant and ever-increasing "we know better than you what you need" attitude eventually caused me to divorce them. Just saying.
> There was a time when the majority of work was done very near home
Mostly by necessity, since you could only go so far by foot and horses were very expensive.
Anyway, you seem to forget that while some tasks are indeed location independent, others require moving to a specific place: Construction work has to be done somewhere, not necessarily anywhere near your home, and surgeons operating on their kitchen table usually end behind bars...
Some professions need to commute, because they either need to use non-local resources, or work on non-local tasks.
> Six months after you left your last job, how often and how many of your former 'family' do you keep contact with?
Half of my current friends are people I met at work (some of them 20+ years ago). So yes, there can be social interaction at work (fortunately, since a vast majority of people spends most of their life there).
That been said, I agree most colleagues are just acquaintances, people you haven't chosen, and with whom your only tie is sharing a common professional goal. Still, humans are (mostly) social animals, and do better in groups, even temporary ones.
> if manglement really understand what developer need to get work done
Well, developers are people who can, out of nowhere, create programs able to do anything (there is a delay for miracles). They create those programs out of thin air, so all they need is a computer and the vague and incomplete spec sheet out of which they're supposed to guess your exact wishes and preferences...
> I am certain that just being co-located in an office doesn't in itself bring anything magical
Agree, the magic is in the free-flowing unlimited human interaction, as opposed to a narrow-channel time-constrained communication through a computer*. Now where exactly that free human interaction takes place is irrelevant, it can be the office, the pub or whatever else.
* Video meetings are in no way similar to real meetings. First of all, often in work meetings several persons talk (or at least comment) simultaneously. Do this in a video meeting and nobody understands a word. Then, in a real meeting you can look around at people's faces and get immediate answers you wouldn't be able to see on a bunch stamp-sized pictures on a laptop screen. And so on.
(You might have guessed by now, but I don't really like video meetings)
> WFH maybe different for other people
Well, there are professions which can't WFH (like medical professions, construction workers, cooks, bus/truck/taxi drivers, store employees, etc.). The only professions really able to work from home are those doing abstract things using computers, which might be a huge majority here at El Reg, but actually are a vanishingly small part in the world as a whole. Some other professions can function at reduced efficiency in a WFH environment (schools come to mind), but a majority of professions require you leave your home.
My point is this is a very localized problem, only affecting our small subset of professions. Most workers can't reasonably WFH.
> how is that different from geographically dispersed teams?
It heavily depends on what those teams are doing (their profession). Some tasks only require an update every now and then to make sure everyone is still in tune, while other tasks require almost constant interaction lest they lose all efficiency and productivity.
The critical factor is communication: If your task depends heavily on abstract, codified information (math, code), email might suffice. On the other hand, if group efficiency depends heavily on non-verbal communication, subtext and nuances, no HD video will ever be enough, you'll need the full person-to-person communication all humans have been trained for since childhood. Everything less than that and your team becomes a loose bunch of acquaintances.
> perhaps they'll be quite selective about whom, in the west, they sell this data
Chinese are big free market supporters, they sell whatever is salable to anybody who is willing to pay for it. While they won't shoot themselves in the foot (selling their own secrets), there is no possible reason why they shouldn't sell your information to anybody who is willing to pay for it.
In short, on the contrary, the fact you're a far-away foreigner removes any potential qualms about selling your information to world & dog.
> I can be reasonably sure it will not go west
Nonsense. Collecting data isn't just for bragging purposes, and obviously they will sell it to those who are interested in your data - actors in your country (including government agencies, the champions of the "the end justifies the means" logic).
Or did you think they were too dumb or too foreign to be able to sell their loot internationally?...
> Not all reptiles are cold-blooded
Sure, but a big part is, and my point was just about the environment limiting what life type you might encounter. For instance woolly mammoths would have a hard time in the present times at temperate latitudes (abundant sweat+wool causing them to shrink until they eventually become purse pets for rich ladies).
> they wouldn't be here now anyway
I'm no paleontologist but from what I heard, some of the strange creatures which have existed in the past were only possible due to the increased temperature and oxygen levels of that time. Indeed, huge cold-blooded lizard-type creatures would obviously only be possible in very hot climates, and animals which breathe through the skin, like insects, can only grow as big as the current oxygen levels allow. And so on.
Given it's our own planet which has gone over time through all those very different phases (and certainly hasn't finished doing so yet!), it is clear that "Goldilocks" planets out there will display a astounding variety of ever-changing situations, climates, and thus ecosystems.
"Never hit by an asteroid" doesn't necessarily mean there were no mass extinctions and reshuffling of the biosphere: Volcanoes can do that too, and you can't avoid volcanism (because liquid core, because magnetic field, without which your atmosphere tends to take a hike making life impossible. See Mars).
Also climate is apparently quite unstable on the (geological) long run (ice ages, hot periods, etc.), so life is probably going to successively try several, wildly different solutions to the environmental challenges present at any given time.
My point is, we have no chance to imagine what we might find on those far-away "habitable" planets. I mean, we're still baffled by the things we discover living on our own planet...
> Do people really worry all the time about a "catastrophe"
I don't know that app, so I'm just guessing, but I willing to bet it's more of an alert system for things like floods, abnormal/dangerous weather conditions and things like that. Something akin the tornado warning system in the USA, which sends out SMS when you're about to be transported to Oz.
> stand within a few metres of many of your competitors employees for 5+ minutes
Well, it's not like people move a lot in most professions; But if you want to optimize, you'll just deposit "infectious" telephones at frequent gathering points (printer, cafeteria, meeting rooms, etc.), and after a day or two I guess most employees will have accumulated enough "infection proximity time" (don't really know, I have no idea how the apps calculate this).
Don't do this at
> you can stay at home for two weeks
Only if you're retired, homemaker or work from home anyway; It's difficult to lose 2 weeks of work each time an infected person drove/walked by.
Those apps only make sense if you can get tested: Potential encounter with an infected person? Get tested, learn if you are henceforth infected or still healthy, and act accordingly. It's a good early warning system.
Without (sufficient) testing capacities and/or possibilities and without a system which controls the app's claims, a single person walking through a crowded city claiming to be infected would cause a local lock-down, as the hundreds of people he walked by would have to go on that 2-week quarantine. Send an "infected" person walk through your competitor's facilities and watch him close shop, the possibilities for mischief are infinite. But the biggest issue is that, for personal or professional reasons, most people simply won't accept a half-month isolation for a vague possibility that somebody potentially infected was close enough to infect them too, making the whole thing pointless.
IMHO it would be way more efficient to spend that money in testing capacity. If everybody could get tested anywhere in a couple minutes (even if you only get the results 24h later), any infectious people would be quickly found and isolated just as well. And I think nobody would mind getting tested every week or so if it isn't too complicated or time-consuming, I know I wouldn't.
Just my 2 cents worth.
You wouldn't: "Same quality standards" doesn't necessarily imply that your washing machine is designed and built to ride a huge firecracker and spend many years in the hostile conditions of space.
It just says that it is designed and built for the task, and thus won't rust, fall apart due to its own vibrations or short out because designers hadn't thought about the potential presence of water in it.
> modern day slavery, inequality in society
Wrong combat, it's only about keeping the neighborhood looking clean and proper. Property values, moral high ground and all that. If your lawn is neatly trimmed and your house clean and in good repair, you can keep beating your wife and abusing your children, as long as it doesn't show too much.
Real world issues are complicated and hard to fix, it's much easier to outlaw reminding about them. The result is the same, peace of mind.
Most likely just another pork barrel.
Even if they actually managed to build 1-2 factories with that money, those factories would only be able to build high-end, big-profit products. There is a reason all factories have been moved to cheaper countries, and are constantly shuffled around as people over there progressively get smart and ask for adequate pay.
So they'll probably build a factory and run it as long as the subventions finance it, then it will be sold to some "acquaintance" and turn into a tax-financed mall...
> nothing says freedom like a Predator circling overhead
Nothing says "freedom" like a stern look from a missile-toting Predator drone of sinister reputation. Remember, it's the Land of the Free, as in "feel free to do exactly as I say", and from time to time they have to show the "or else" around, lest they be thought of as joking.
> Only the US has the economy to fund most of NATO and supply fighters and materiel
Almost: Only the USA produces so many "fighters and materiel" they have to create artificial structures to sell some of that stuff to... In short, it's a clever way to allow your "friends with benefits" to increase their sales...
> But that relies on consumers realising what's gone on and actually claiming rather than just adding to landfill and buying more tat.
Indeed, and History has shown most people will just grumble a little, then go buy a replacement, of the same brand. Some will even be happy for the opportunity to get the newest and shiniest...
> Enough anger to change manufacturer's behaviour?
I'd say "not a chance".
Already some manufacturers (as reported by El Reg) don't hesitate to kill perfectly working kit to force the users to update, and if they aren't afraid to do something as obviously malignant as that, why would they bother about some highly abstract problem which isn't even entirely their own fault? "Sorry, the root certificate has expired" is a perfectly valid explanation, which puts the fault to a faceless, abstract entity which for the end user is as intangible as fate.
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